Mar 27, 2012, 10:54 PM EDT
On paper, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers should have finished Tuesday night in the same place that they started it, aside from having one less game remaining on their schedules.
Instead, it was an awfully tough night for the Penguins and a great one for the Rangers. New York squeezed out a 3-2 win against a persistent but hopeless Minnesota Wild team while Pittsburgh dropped a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
Tough times for Pittsburgh
This gives the Rangers a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division (and thus, the first seed in the East), which honestly seems more like a four point gap when you consider the Blueshirts’ tiebreaker advantages.
If that wasn’t enough, Kukla’s Korner points out that Marc-Andre Fleury took an elbow to the head in the second period and Sidney Crosby might just face some heat from Brendan Shanahan for his ill-advised cross-check.
The Penguins aren’t totally out of the No. 1 seed sweepstakes, though. The key date is April 5 when the Penguins host the Rangers at Consol Energy Center. If Pittsburgh wins that game in regulation, it reduces the Rags’ lead to just a point (or essentially two because of tiebreaker advantages).
In a fitting way, the blow to Pittsburgh’s quest for the top seed isn’t all that different from Washington’s diminished opportunity to get the eighth seed. Both teams still have a shot, but now they’ll need to depend upon Buffalo/New York to lose for things to work out.
Here are highlights of the Rangers’ win:
Check out video of the Islanders beating the Penguins:
- Brassard says Marchand ‘doesn’t show any respect for his opponents’ 41
- Playoffs tonight: Bruins and Red Wings look to finish things in Game 5 4
- Video: Senators’ captain Alfredsson discusses his future 11
- Penguins put on a ‘clinic’ in semifinal series win over Senators 28
- Report: NHL to present Glendale with Coyotes ownership plan next week 14
- Discuss: Penguins knock off the Senators in Game 5, headed to conference final 73
- Video: Morrow’s goal off the foot stands after review 6
- Maloney signs long-term contract as Coyotes GM 7
- Playoffs Tonight: Penguins aim to finish off Senators 20
- Kings’ Quick ‘didn’t have to work hard’ in shutout win over Sharks 8
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (114)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (101)
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (95)
- Discuss: Rangers stay alive with OT win (87)
- Pacers even series with Heat
- Penguins bounce Senators | Highlights
- MST: Rosberg wins pole in Monaco | Highlights
- Tennis.com: Can anyone stop Serena at French?
- Tennis.com: Is French still Nadal's to lose?
- Tigers' Sanchez loses no-hitter in 9th vs. Twins
- PST: Report: Openly gay Rogers to play for Galaxy
- Play Video: Highlights: Penguins crush Senators to move on
- Play Video: Neil hits Murray below the belt
- Play Video: Morrow's goal up for review in Game 5
- Play Video: Phantom penalty called on Crosby
- Play Video: I was there: Bruins stun Maple Leafs in Game 7
- Play Video: Top-seeded Blackhawks on brink of elimination